The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin

The original, totally awesome badge, minus my facetious photoshopping, is by Storied Threads/Veronica Bailey

George R.R. Martin provided an update this weekend on progress for both The Winds of Winter and The World of Ice and Fire. He says:

We all know how long the last novel took. And now I am writing the “sidebar” (hoo hah) about the first Dance of the Dragons, the fratricidal civil war between King Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra, for THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE, and it’s turned into a monster too.

As of today, I have a hundred and three bloody manuscript pages (some VERY bloody) and still no end at hand. I had hoped to finish this one today, but… no, not even close. Lots more to write.

I think there’s some good stuff here, and judging by the reception my reading got at Chicon, most of you seem to like the fake history too. But DAMN, there a lot of it.

The ‘sidebar’ he’s referring to will appear in The World of Ice and Fire, an encyclopaedic volume collecting much of the history, maps, characters and vast backstory that Martin has created for A Song of Ice and Fire, but which will likely never appear in the novels themselves. I’m sure there will be much sniffing at the fact that he’s not dedicating all of his time directly to The Winds of Winter, but, hey, any A Song of Ice and Fire content is welcome to this fan.

UPDATE: As pointed out below, that’s 103 pages of manuscript for The World of Ice and Fire, not The Winds of Winter, which is further along.

Actual progress on the novel seems slow at 103 pages. By comparison, when submitted, A Dance with Dragons was 1510 manuscript pages. So, not even 10% of the way through. In other words, it’s going to be a long wait, fans. My suggestion? Go read some Daniel Abraham, then follow it up with some N.K. Jemisin, Greg Keyes, David Anthony Durham, Kate Elliott and Tad Williams. After that, you’ll still have to wait a while, but, hell, at least you’ll have experienced some damn fine novels.

  • Jeff C September 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I was thinking he meant the “sidebar” was up to 103 pages, though I’ve only read your snippet above (and not the Martin’s full post)

  • Shawn Speakman September 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    The 103 pages he’s talking about is not for Winds. It’s for World. At least that’s how I read his post. I also seem to remember George saying in the recent past that he has several hundred manuscript pages finished for the new novel. Whether or not those will remain throughout his process is something else entirely — and certainly nothing I would use to gauge delivery day. haha

  • Aidan Moher September 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Oh, interesting. I misread that, then. If so, 103 ‘manuscript’ pages is a quite significant chunk of content directly from Martin for this project, which is good news for fans. When Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan released similar books, they did very little (if any) writing for the project.

    I’ve updated the post title to reflect this. Thanks, guys.

  • Noldorimbor September 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Yes 103 pages is the sidebar about the first dance. Our last information about TWOW progress back in May : he has 400 manuscript pages, 200 is finished, 200 will be revised and re written as needed.

    Also, Daniel Abraham? Stop getting people into more trouble:) I’m dying for the next The Dagger and The Coin / Expanse books

  • Aidan Moher September 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    103 pages for a sidebar in a companion book does seem like an unnecessary distraction for Martin, and I’m generally okay with him spending time away from The Winds of Winter, focussing on other projects. Comparing the word count in A Dance with Dragons (420k) to the number of manuscript pages (1500), seems to indicate that he’s written 28,000 words about the ‘First Dance,’ putting firmly into the realm of novellas and almost half-way to being considered its own novel (75,000+ words).

  • Noldorimbor September 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I’m not sure about the distraction part to be honest. If you didn’t see, you should check forums for some of the stuff he wrote for companion book. Some awesome stuff, especially that 70-something Dorne princess (nickname Yellow Toad) telling one of the Targaryen sisters who rode in on a dragon to f* off! I think he is using the companion book as an opportunity to tell some of the backstory he will have to leave out from incoming ASOIAF novels, to finish the series in 2 books.

  • Aidan Moher September 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Yeah, I’ve followed along with all of this stuff, and I’m active on the Westeros boards. As I mentioned in the post, I’m happy to get to read about this stuff, and don’t really mind seeing him working on it, but it’s going to be hard to justify to the majority of his fans, especially in the wake of everything that happened leading up to the releases of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. There are going to be a lot of frustrated people, especially the ones who don’t give a fuck about any Westeros history that isn’t necessary to the main aSoIaF plot.

    Your final point is interesting, and I think you’re likely right, but it still seems like this project could have waited until he was done the mainline books, or, at least for the sake of his own PR, kept under wraps until the companion book came out.

  • Noldorimbor September 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    That I have to agree. A “World of…” book for an unfinished series feels early to me, I would prefer such a book to be written without worrying about revealing too much or holding back not to give spoilers… They will have to use dirty tricks to skip some history or will just completely pretend those stuff didn’t happen. Or maybe they will reveal Jon’s parentage and whether Aegon is real or just a mummer’s dragon in the companion book ..yeah right :P

  • Frodo Stark September 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    “Also, Daniel Abraham? Stop getting people into more trouble:) I’m dying for the next The Dagger and The Coin / Expanse books.”

    No offense intended to other writers at all, but Abraham is practically a machine at this point…between those series and MLN Hanover’s series he’s essentially putting out three books a year. It may be trouble, but it’s reliable trouble. :)

  • Rob Mammone September 18, 2012 at 12:00 am




  • Gabriele September 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

    If you’re looking for books to tide you over the Wait for Winters, I’d like to add Erikson’s Malazan series, or, in case you like the fake history part of ASOIAF, the novels by Dorothy Dunnett. The Niccolò and Lymond series together are 14 books worth of, intrigue, great characters, swashbuckling adventure, and intelligent historical fiction.

  • Keyoke September 18, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Wonder what this means for the TV series. Obviously it’s going to catch up to the books easily. And I just can’t see HBO taking a few years hiatus on it. I wonder if they will just go in their own direction?

  • Aidan Moher September 18, 2012 at 11:37 am

    As far as I know, the producers of the show have an outline, provided by Martin, for the rest of the series.

  • Adam Whitehead September 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Yes, HBO have a full outline for the entire series, based on info GRRM gave them about where the story will go in as-yet-unpublished books. Assuming no calamitous drop in ratings, I would say it is very likely we will see the end of the ASoIaF story on screen before we see it in print. Which is going to put a lot of fans in a quandary when they overtake the books somewhere around Season 6.

    As mentioned upthread, GRRM’s last confirmation on the state of TWoW was 200 ‘finalised’ MS pages (most of them left over from ADWD) and an additional 200 pages in varying stages of completion.

  • Rasmus Rosengaard October 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Well since they split book 3 into 2 seasons you could speculate that thats also a posibility with book 4 and 5. That would give HBO 8 seasons in all before they get to Winds of Winter.

  • Bryan October 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

    By the time these books are finished that gorgeous actress playing Daenerys will be old and ugly. She no doubt will rule the 7 kingdoms. What part her nephew Jon Snow will play in her rule will be interesting!

  • Xiaopeng November 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Hmmmm,,, why everyone is say he better not die before he finished the book. I think it’s totally okay, yet would be a little bit sad if that really turned out to be real. As it’s the real world!